Keyless technology is driving a rise in car thefts, according to new data from the UK.
Claims relating to car thefts rose by 20 per cent in every year from 2016 to 2019, LV= General Insurance figures show.
The proportion of those claims involving keyless vehicles has increased over the period.
Consumers need to keep on top of new innovations and take extra precautions
LV= General Insurance said this demonstrates that professional thieves are targeting the most valuable vehicles.
Keyless cars automatically unlock when their key is within a short distance of the car.
Technology-savvy criminals are using relay devices to make car systems believe a key is nearby through amplifying the key’s signal.
They often stand outside the front door of a home and relay the key’s signal towards a vehicle parked on the drive.
Once successful, the car can be opened, started and driven away within seconds.
Heather Smith, managing director at LV= General Insurance, said: “Car technology continues to advance, but unfortunately so do the methods criminals use to steal them.
“Consumers need to keep on top of new innovations and take extra precautions to ensure they stay one step ahead of criminals who may try and take advantage of them, and their cars.
“The police can only do so much, so it’s vital that drivers do everything they can to protect their vehicle, especially those driving a luxury or prestige car that is likely to attract attention.”
Owners of keyless cars are advised to store keys well away from their vehicle, and if possible in a Faraday bag that prevents their signals being picked up.
The claims data shows an increase in car crime across the UK’s main urban areas, with London, Birmingham and Nottingham among the cities seeing the biggest spikes.
London, in particular, has seen vehicle theft claims increase by 265 per cent since 2016, while Birmingham, Nottingham and Greater Manchester have experienced increases of more than 100 per cent.